Students should be allowed to wear hats in school
Due to the extremely cold weather this season, most students come to school dressed in warm attire, such as winter coats, jackets, gloves, and hats. In addition to fighting the cold, many students like to wear these kinds of clothing outside of school simply to be stylish.
The issue, however, is that students are not allowed to wear these types of clothes on school grounds. This dress code is nothing new at Conant. It has been drilled into students’ heads for years that certain types of clothing — especially hats — are simply not tolerated in schools.
The dress code is essentially a massive inconvenience to people who want to wear hats in school to look stylish or just for the fun of it. There is no good reason why hats and warm coats should not be allowed in schools. Conant’s official dress code policy states that a “student’s dress and grooming must not disrupt the educational process, interfere with the maintenance of a positive teaching/learning climate, or compromise reasonable standards of health, safety, and decency.” It further claims that “coats, jackets, blankets, caps, bandanas, ‘do-rags,’ and hats are inappropriate in an educational institution and threaten the educational process and compromise safety.”
The problem with the school’s policy is that it does not elaborate on just how wearing outdoor clothing inside is unsafe or “threatening” to students’ education. Nor does it describe how warm clothing like coats threatens the safety of Conant students. Staff should be less concerned about policing mere hats and jackets and more concerned about policing clothing that is actually vulgar or offensive.
A common justification for banning hats and coats is that hats could be used as gang signs and should therefore not be allowed. Even if this is the case, just about anything could be used as a gang sign, including a certain color of clothing, or wearing clothing in certain ways. As for the argument that students could use coats to carry weapons or other dangerous items, this can already be accomplished by a standard backpack, sports bag, or lunchbox.
It is completely reasonable to expect students to remove their hats during assemblies, performances, and the morning pledge. Students who casually wear jackets and hats in class, however, mean no harm or disrespect to anyone, and thus shouldn’t have to take their hats and jackets off. They simply enjoy the way they look in their clothing, or they wear warm clothes to feel more comfortable in the unusually cold classrooms at Conant. There shouldn’t be any rule against students trying to warm up or express themselves through the way they dress.
Many teachers already do not enforce the no-hat policy, and even more students wear hats when no supervisors are looking (i.e., in the hall, bathrooms, or locker rooms). This begs the question: what is the point of keeping the no-hat policy if numerous students are already breaking it?
If students want to wear hats and coats in school, they should be allowed to. They aren’t hurting anyone by doing so — they are merely expressing themselves. Hats and coats can be worn in just about every other public setting, so why should a setting like a school be any different? During this unusually cold winter weather, it is better to let students wear what they want instead of banning hats and coats that pose no inherent threat to safety or to positive learning environments.